• Crescent City

    Submitted by scott on

    Steamboat: CRESCENT CITY
    Built: 1854
    Tonnage: 688
    Clemens' Service: 29 April - 7 July, 1857
    Pilot: Horace Bixby
    Co-Pilot: Strother Wiley
    Captain: R. C. Young

    April 29, 1857: Wednesday – Sam left St. Louis on the Crescent City (688 tons), bound for New Orleans.

    May 4? Monday – The Crescent City arrived in New Orleans.

    May 8–9? Saturday – The Crescent City left New Orleans bound for St. Louis.

  • April 29, 1857

    Submitted by scott on

    April 29 Wednesday – Sam left St. Louis on the Crescent City (688 tons), bound for New Orleans. Bixby and Sam would make this run on the Crescent three times [Branch, “Bixby” 2].

  • May 16, 1857

    Submitted by scott on

    May 16–19? Tuesday – The Crescent City arrived in St. Louis [Branch, “Bixby” 2].

    Note: approximate dates with ? are calculated from Branch’s assertion of three round trips rather than two, and his updating of information from MTL 1: 71.

    Once in St. Louis, Sam went first to cousin James Clemens, Jr., and then to brother-in-law William Moffett to secure the loan of $100 with which to pay Bixby a down payment [MTL 1: 71].

  • May 22, 1857

    Submitted by scott on

    May 22 Friday – The Crescent City left St. Louis bound for New Orleans, with Sam as the official cub pilot. From this date until May 1861, Sam learned and worked his new trade as a steamboat pilot. He made exceptional pay once licensed and loved the work. Only the closing of river traffic with the Civil War cost Sam this job. It is one of the side benefits of the war that Sam was forced off the river and into the West to discover his true calling. Still, without those years on the Mississippi, Sam might never have reached his pinnacle as the “Lincoln of our literature” [MTL 1: 71].

  • May 27, 1857

    Submitted by scott on

    May 27 Wednesday – Sam arrived in New Orleans on the Crescent City, cub under Horace Bixby. Nearly all of Sam’s piloting was between New Orleans and St. Louis, some 1,300 miles. Bixby taught Sam that he must memorize every mile of the trip, that each side of the river, coming and going was different, and that at night nothing looked the same. To make it more difficult, the river was constantly shifting its banks. Sam was boggled by what was required of him [MTL 1: 71].

  • June 1, 1857

    Submitted by scott on

    June 1 Monday – In New Orleans, Sam wrote to Annie Taylor lamenting her “ancient punctuality.”

    [postscript in pencil:]

    P. S.—I have just returned from another cemetery—brought away an orange leaf as a memorial—I inclose it.

    New Orleans, June 1st. 1857.

    My Dear Friend Annie

    I am not certain what day of the month this is, (the weather being so warm,) but I expect I have made a pretty close guess.

  • June 9, 1857

    Submitted by scott on

    June 9 Tuesday – Crescent City arrived St. Louis. Note: The following steamboat schedules are taken from [MTL 1: 387-90].